When I was at PAX East I went to a panel entitled “Geek Is No Longer a Four Letter Word”. It was a great panel, with lots of interesting conversation on what a geek was, why we were geeks, and why that was not only okay, but even pretty cool. However, it did come up briefly that girls who are geeks tend to be different than guys who are geeks. It just so happened that on that panel was a contributing writer for the GeekDad blog on Wired named Natania Barron who made the point that she was a woman, a mother, a social person, and a geek, oh and why isn’t there a GeekMom?
Suffice to say, after listening to what Natania had to say … the idea for this blog was born. Therefore, we here at Girls Are Geeks would like to present Natania Barron as a Geeky Woman Role Model and our personal role model for getting this idea off the ground!
Natania is a writer of speculative fiction, steampunk, and fantasy. She studied English and Writing at Loyola University and has a Master’s in English with a concentration in medieval literature from UNC Greensboro. I’d say that qualifies as one smart woman!
Natania calls herself in her blog bio an “unrepentant geek” which is a phrase that I believe should be heard more often. It sometimes feels like “geek girl” is an oxymoron to geek guys, and so to play the female roles, we back off our own geekiness. Natania is just as proud to be a geek as she is to be a writer, an artist, and a mother.
I had the opportunity to find out a little bit about Natania from her equally geeky husband, Michael. The two of them actually met while playing hobbits in a text-based multi-user roleplaying game set in Tolkien’s Middle-earth called Elender. I’m pretty sure that is one of the best how-I-met-the-geek-love-of-my-life stories I’ve ever heard. This began the friendship that eventually resulted in marriage and this adorable little guy.
Natania’s calling is writing, and she released the draft of her steampunk novel The Aldersgate Cycle as a podcast that you can listen to on itunes. Even after hitting a rough patch with carpal tunnel syndrome, Natania continues to write using dictation software. Her personal blog is the place to hear about her writing progress and to catch some great tips for writers!
Natania’s articles on various aspects of geek life can be found on GeekDad and Geeks Are Sexy. Here are a few that have caught me as really speaking to the geek girl community.
Never Assume Anything About a Geek Girl
I like this one because it hits both sides of the geek girl problem. It a) points out that we can be geeks on our own credit and not necessarily due to our signigicant male other and b) it points out that geek girls can be girly too! I’m not sure what a stereotypical geek girl is, but Natania makes the point that it isn’t any of us!
I’m pretty sure this article should be required reading for all parents, not just geeks. It also described my childhood almost perfectly, so I really feel like Natania has been there and done that, and knows what growing up as a geek girl is all about.
10 Geeky Instruments
This is one of the best combinations of my two loves, geeky things and music, and apparently two of Natania’s as well! She also improves her geek cred here by admitting to having a crush on Link and loving TMBG, come on!
She painted those. Wow.
Her husband calls her “single-minded about her passions” but overall, I would have to simply call her a fabulous choice for our Geeky Woman Role Model for May! Natania, you are awesome!